When Jackie Parker-Robinson and I sat down to plan this year's KidLit Con in Seattle one of the things that we spent some time thinking about was how to incorporate a fundraiser into the weekend's plans. This has always been a significant and enjoyable part of the conference and everyone looks forward to it. What we decided was to shift things just a bit, both by moving away from publisher donated ARCs as raffle prizes and also toward a long term partnership with one organization. Ultimately what we came up with made sense in so many ways that in retrospect it was one of the easiest things we decided. I am delighted to announce that KidLit Con is now entering into a partnership with Reading Is Fundamental which we hope will extend for many years into the future and make a powerful difference in the lives of many.
I'm sure many of you are aware how RIF's budget was decimated by the elimination of federal funds this year. I'm not going to get all political with you because the hard truth is that there are few painless answers to our economic mess. But cutting RIF is particularly harsh as it exists solely to put books into the hands of children who otherwise can not afford them. RIF is an investment in our future in the purest and most direct terms. When you think about that way, it's hard to understand why anyone would ever put RIF on the chopping block but that is what has happened and now we just have to do what we can to make sure that future promise remains unchanged.
There are many generous groups and corporations who have stepped up to help RIF and for that we should all be grateful. KIdLit Con is seeking to make a more personal and direct contribution as the funds we raise will be coming directly from book lovers in the pursuit of creating more book lovers. Now is the time, quite frankly, where we need to put up or shut up. If you are a writer or a librarian or a bookseller or a book blogger or if you read blogs about books then this fundraiser is targeted directly at you.
So that's all of you, right?
We are living in the era of information overload and thus we don't get to say anymore that "there is nothing we can do" or "we just didn't know" or "we didn't have time to figure out how to help". This is easy. You think books matter then you need to do something to help kids get books. Period. This is your job, it's your political moment, it is your calling. And it doesn't matter what color state you live in or what little letter is next to your choice when you vote or who you think is to blame for where we are right now.
None of that matters.
The only thing you need to think about is the $1 or $5 or $10 or $20 or $50 (or more) that you can donate right this very second to RIF. You need to think about linking to this effort and you need to think about posting it to facebook and you need to think about tweeting it. You need to think about telling folks on your list serve. You need to think about how much you can give and how many other people you can spread the word to because at the end of the day the best thing about who we are is that we believe in the power of words and RIF is all about spreading that power as far and wide as possible. RIF does nothing less than change the world - that's its very mission - and if you don't think that's the most worthy thing any of us can be part of then you really are not the kind of book lover I know you to be.
Don't let us down, folks. Join KidLit Con's effort to raise money for RIF over the next thirty days as we count down to the conference. Help us show the power of booklovers; help us prove that it's not about the books we get, it's always and only about the books we can give.
[Post pic from Macy's RIF event.]